Online shopping has exploded over the last year-and-a-half. In fact, 69 percent of Americans have shopped online, and 25 percent of Americans shop online at least once per month, found an NPR/Marist poll. Husband-and-wife entrepreneurial team Chris and Roberta Holmes realized there was a prime opportunity to tap into Black consumers. The couple launched the Black Home Shopping Network in the summer of 2020. Chris Holmes told Finurah the Black Home Shopping Network is part of the couple’s belief in collective economic growth and the BuyBlack movement for African-Americans.
“We think of BHSN.tv as an expansion of the BuyBlack Movement centered around the principles of Ujamaa–Cooperative Economics. Our Mission is to Build, To Prosper, Together! Our platform makes it easy for consumers to purchase products and services from home with OnDemand shopping 365 days a year, 24 hours a day!” said Mr. Holmes.
They recently inked a deal with Exposure Network TV‘s Streaming Home Marketplace to have BHSN online and available to shoppers 24/7.
Roberta Holmes told Finurah that the Streaming Home Marketplace will launch on Black Friday. She also said it expands on BHSN by emphasizing the growing retail streaming space for Black entrepreneurs to sell their products to African-American consumers.
“What sets it apart from BHSN.tv is the marketplace is a space for retail streaming. Business owners sell their products or services with QVC style infomercials and shoppers can purchase from their tv screen or mobile device while watching. We have figured out a winning formula! Nearly one-third of Americans have tuned in to shop via streaming and almost half of them made a purchase according to Coresight Research. There is a tectonic shift happening and streaming is becoming the new normal,” said Mrs. Holmes.
Now BHSN is gearing up for a new Black Friday initiative called “Black Shop Friday” that will feature dozens of Black-owned businesses.
Urban League Initiative and Streaming Home Marketplace Debut ‘Black Shop Friday‘
A new initiative from the Urban League could also help African-American-owned businesses on the streaming network. The civil rights organization recently launched its annual Black Shop Friday Campaign to help drive sales to Black businesses on Black Friday.
With the Black Shop Friday in local stores and BHSN online, African-American shoppers have many opportunities to support Black businesses on this upcoming Black Friday.
BHSN Wants to be the Amazon For Black Shoppers
Black shoppers account for 10 percent of shoppers on Amazon, and the numbers are growing, according to a study from Statista. In addition to that growth, Black shoppers have a buying power of more than a trillion dollars.
BHSN is available on various streaming services and through products such as Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, Roku, iOS and Android devices. It is accessible to over 160 million households streaming in 128 countries with over 800,000 downloads and counting. Shoppers can buy from Black-owned companies that offer fashions, home décor, books, African goods and more.
BHSN and Exposure Network TV have the perfect partnership for success, said Chris Holmes.
“Exposure TV has had more than 800,000 app downloads”, Exposure TV Network president Tam Lawrence said in a press release.
She noted that the combination of entertainment programs on Exposure TV and shopping options helped BHSN grow. Exposure Network TV offers viewers a mix of entertainment and e-commerce. After visiting the Exposure Network TV app, almost half of those viewers who visited BHSN made purchases.
“Analysts say events that offer entertainment and allow shoppers to buy products from the same screen as the streaming generally do best, and that is what we offer on Exposure TV Network. We have figured out a winning formula,” said Lawrence.
Black Businesses Saw Surge Summer 2020
Another factor that helped BHSN is the increased interest in Black-owned businesses after the police killing of George Floyd in 2020. Many more African-Americans sought to support Black entrepreneurs, and they did their shopping on BHSN.
Black-owned businesses have flourished since the pivotal summer of 2020. In that summer of racial reckoning, there was a growing interest in African-American-owned businesses. Black-owned business owners in operation surged 38 percent to 1.5 million from February 2020 to August 2021, according to Bloomberg.
Black-Owned Businesses Now Struggling
The summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, brought focus to closing the Black-white wealth gap and helping Black businesses. However, many businesses saw sales drop off after the initial interests last summer. Samara Walker, the owner of vegan nail polish store Auda B, told Marketplace that the Shop Black movement didn’t have a lasting impact on her business.
“It didn’t maintain,” Walker said. “So it spiked up for, like, maybe two to three months, it was like a strong uptick, and then it kind of slowly fell off.”
A Reimagine Wall Street May 2021 survey found that 67 percent of 434 African-American business owners think it will take at least six months before their businesses recover from the pandemic.
BHSN aims to help Black-owned businesses get through this slump with exposure and by making the products available to a broader audience through its online network.
According to Karen Freeman-Wilson, head of the Urban League’s Chicago chapter, having a website listing 500 Black-owned businesses will help local communities.
“We believe that this campaign will really provide a global education to folks in the Black community to people in the larger community,” Freeman-Wilson told WBBM Newsradio.